Introducing our Radically Inclusive Membership Program

April 30, 2018


After nearly a year of careful research and conversation with our community, on May 25, 2018, we are excited to begin rollout on a radically inclusive community membership program. This values-driven, community-centered and ultimately really fun program will cost $1 to join. By January 2019, membership will be required to access our state-of-the-art media production studios, equipment library (valued at more than $650,000), and to access our three editing rooms, animation equipment and voiceover room; as well as to upload content to air on our channels—pending the completion of all necessary certification classes, of course.

In addition to gaining access to our facilities, community members will receive:

  • A customized membership card
  • Expedited equipment check-out
  • Invitations to members-only events and trainings, including an annual appreciation party
  • A free drink ticket at all of our public events
  • A membership newsletter
  • Ability to participate in meetings and on advisory committees that help shape the resources we make available to the public

The community media landscape is changing drastically. Long dependent solely upon government funding — much of which is routed from our cable companies — Open Signal does not receive the same level of public funding that we used to, and we expect that trend to continue.

Over the past two years, we’ve wildly increased earned revenue and support from foundations and other grantmakers. Now, we look to our internal community for help. Unrestricted support from our members allow us to further diversify funding and to spend money in a way that is nimble and responsive to the community first, rather than to the priorities of a foundation or a corporation.

Our membership is reflective of the programs at most community media centers across the nation, and we’re working hard to ensure that membership makes being part of the Open Signal community a better experience. If anyone cannot pay the $1 fee, we will waive it, no questions asked.

Open Signal is more vibrant and more relevant than ever, and we invite you to become an official member of our community. Last fiscal year, we more than tripled the number of people we engaged through our public media equipment library and studios, classes and events. We broadcast marginalized voices covering the most relevant issues of our time to more than 400,000 homes in the Portland metro area. We checked out our media equipment library and our production studios to the public nearly 5,000 times. And Open Signal continues to grow. This summer, we’re excited to launch a new fellowship program for Black filmmakers, part of a new focus on career development programming for youth and adults in our community.

$1 is all that is required to become a member because we can’t, and won’t, leave anyone out of this program due to lack of funds. But the success of the membership program — and our organization’s sustainability — ultimately depends upon the generosity of those who can give more. If all our users gave an average of $45, we would sail to our goal of raising $20,000 in the first year.

You can become one of our inaugural members by making a contribution online now and ensure that you’re in our membership database when the program begins in May. 

We also warmly invite you to our first official membership event on Saturday, May 19:

Please join us! 

And thank you for being part of our community and for helping to stabilize and grow our work. With your help, we can ensure that Portland has open access to create and share media for decades into the future.



PS: If you want to learn more about the in’s and out’s and the why’s of our membership program, including our FAQ document, please visit the Membership page of our website.

PPS: To provide more input into the future of this organization and our funding, please attend our community workshop for our five-year strategic plan on Tuesday, May 8 at 6:30pm. RSVP here.

Justen Harn Executive Director justen [at] opensignalpdx.org (503) 673-8704

I work with Open Signal board, staff and stakeholders to establish and advance the organization's strategic priorities. I ensure that all Open Signal programs and services are responsive, well-utilized and of the highest possible quality.

For over a decade, I have worked as a nonprofit arts administrator, educator, programmer and cultural engineer. As the Hollywood Theatre’s Director of Programs and Community Engagement from 2007 to 2016, I helped transform a historic cinema on the brink of closing into one of the most celebrated arts and culture organizations in the Northwest. 

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